What is DMSO?
DMSO (Dimethyl Sulfoxide) is a powerful healer that originates from trees and is a byproduct of the paper industry. It is currently actively used in human and equine sports medicine; it’s used to help horses’ recover quicker after training and used by physios during games/ matches to help athletes get back into the game after injury. It’s also used in the transportation of organs during transplants and in drug delivery systems.
In addition, it can be administered as first aid to stop heart attacks and strokes, it alleviates pain but is non-addictive, protects DNA from radiation and also helps to ‘re-set’ DNA. It increases nutrient absorption while protecting organs including the liver. It can increase hair growth, can heal cataracts, and relieve general aches and pains and is a great naturopathic protocol.
Because of these factors, DMSO is a great substance to keep at home and in first aid kits. Every doctor’s office and hospital should also have it to hand.
As is normal for any natural substance, that cannot be patented and is inexpensive, it has been persecuted and suppressed over the years, which is why you’ve probably never heard of it.
How DMSO Works
-DMSO works trans dermally (it can cross the skin into the tissues below and into the bloodstream).
-DMSO contains Sulphur and it is not possibly to be allergic to Sulphur as it’s a vital element to life on earth. Pure elemental Sulphur is different from Sulphur containing drugs, foods or proteins ie Sulfates and sulfites. DMSO bears no resemblance to these substances.
-The only grade of DMSO that should be used with humans and animals is 99.995% purity.
-DMSO is naturally found in many foods that we eat, is excreted in small amounts in our urine and in the urine of other animals
-DMSO is safe to use but there are a few do’s and don’ts. Once you understand these and its applications, it can be used for a wide variety of ailments.
-DMSO is not a drug, it is a natural healing compound that is found in nature. Synthetic compounds ie pharmaceutical drugs work by suppressing symptoms, instead of healing the problem that caused the symptom. They can also overwhelm the body producing many different types of side effects. Most natural substances stimulate your body’s ability to heal itself. The key to all medicines, be they natural or synthetic, is proper usage and dosage.
-People who are currently not eating well, not exercising and have cumulated environmental toxins or not managing stress well or not sleeping well (usually these people feel fatigued and under par most of the time) may experience healing symptoms when first using DMSO.
These healing symptoms mean that your body has been stimulated into healing, by releasing toxins (often held in fat cells) and these circulating toxins may make the individual have headaches or feel a little unwell, while the toxins are being cleared out. This is part of the detoxification process.
This is especially likely if any of the elimination system (liver, kidneys, digestion system, lungs, lymph, skin) is congested. It’s advisable to work with a naturopathic practitioner when first using DMSO, especially if you are not as healthy as you could be. DMSO can be employed alongside other naturopathic solutions. Certainly, it’s important for lifelong health to ensure that nutrition and lifestyle are as healthy as possible.
It’s impossible to be allergic to DMSO, otherwise you’d be allergic to your own body. Detox symptoms may occur when the DMSO is mixing with a toxin in your body and your body is reacting to that combination. Typical detox symptoms could be headaches, nausea, fatigue, bowel changes, skin rashes, mood changes. Rare cases may appear as allergic type reactions; hives, itching swelling, blood pressure and heart rate type reactions and very rarely anaphylactic conditions.
Detox (or healing) symptoms are produced by the body when it’s indeed healing.
Pharmaceutical drugs often side effects, nutritional deficiencies, muscle pain, neurological problems, and memory problems. DMSO has never been shown to produce anything like the side effects that pharmaceutical drugs induce and has proven to be genuinely safe, effective and easy to administer.
Taking DMSO with Drugs
If you are currently taking any pharmaceutical drug, DMSO can enable the drug to have a greater access to the body or cells. Because of this it is not recommended to take DMSO if you are taking any pharmaceutical drugs, as the response in each individual, depending on their health and amount of drug being taken, is unreliable. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist to amend / reduce your pharmaceutical drugs if you choose to try DMSO. If you decide to take with any pharmaceutical drug please do so with the utmost caution, with very small quantities to begin with, monitoring side effects and regularly checking with your doctor. However, DMSO should never be taken with a diuretic as it itself is a diuretic and pairing two together is dangerous.
Mostly DMSO takes a protective role in the presence of most drugs and is currently used as a bulking agent or to dilute certain drugs.
Pairing With Natural Substances
Because DMSO works trans dermally, pairing it with vitamins, minerals, homeopathics and botanicals opens up a whole new world of possible therapies. Many DMSO combinations can be made to heal a number of health conditions.
DMSO Activities and Properties
-Increases production of white blood cells and macrophages important for the immune system
-Increases cell membrane permeability, to enable toxin removal
-Radioprotective against the lethal and mutagenic effects of X-rays
-A good heavy metal detoxifier; it binds to aluminium, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and nickel and eliminates them in urine and sweat
-An effective pain killer; blocking nerves conducting pain signals
-Has cryoprotective properties; used in transport of bone marrow cells and organs for transplant to prevent them freezing. Also protects against damage during radiation therapy and interstitial cystitis
-Inhibits the growth of bacteria
-Acts as a diuretic
-Reduces swelling and inflammation
-Improves blood supply to injured areas by dilating blood vessels and reducing bloody viscosity
-Increases delivery of oxygen to cells
-Free radical scavenger
-Transdermal- easily transfers through the skin, the blood brain barrier and into the blood stream
-Protects cells from mechanical damage
-Has a calming effect on the nervous system
-Acts as a carrier for all substances and increases their effect for example chemotherapy, antibiotics, corticosteroids can be used in smaller quantities
-Is nontoxic and has an exceptionally safe therapy profile
Inflammation is a response to tissue injury and while it is necessary it is often plain uncomfortable, with heat, swelling pain and reduced function. DMSO is a very good anti-inflammatory and helps to remove cytokines, histamine, prostaglandins etc and speeds tissue repair. It widens arteries and prevents them from constricting allowing for better blood flow; bringing improved blood flow to an injured region is always important for healing as the blood moves wastes away and brings in the mediators of healing. It also increases the production of a molecule called cAMP, important in the formation of platelets which are needed to form blood clots to stop bleeding, but it’s important that they don’t improperly clump as this can cause stroke or brain injury. DMSO encourages the making of platelets but not their clumping. This makes DMSO powerful in many disease situations.
DMSO is a natural nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It works by regulating inflammation and pain and stops or slows the conduction of nerve fibres. Other NSAIDS can cause toxicity to the stomach, producing ulcers and irritation and can lead to eye and cartilage damage. It can help with musculoskeletal pain disorder when consistently and correctly applied over time.
DMSO has the ability to remove reactive oxygen species (ROS) which can harm the body as free radicals and to oxidise certain tissues that are in need of destruction (for example cancer cells). It can act as a mild or potent antioxidant or pro-oxidant depending on the percentage used, the pH of the tissue that absorbs DMSO, the materials it interacts with and the user’s health. Antioxidant and pro-oxidant activity must be balanced by the body to avoid producing too much oxidative stress; both are needed for health reasons. Pro-oxidants kill bacteria and fungus via the white blood cells, removing damaged tissues and wastes during times of growth or injury. Antioxidants are needed to prevent heart disease, cancers, immune dysfunction an metabolic disorders.
DMSO can replace water inside a living cell so that it can destroy intercellular free radicals which no other antioxidant can do. It is advisable to take vitamins and minerals to neutralize the free raidicals that the DMSO may produce; Vitamins A, E, C, B spectrum, zinc, selenium or a good multi vit and mineral herbal formulae.
Blood Brain Barrier
DMSO crosses the blood brain barrier and allows other molecules entrance into the brain which has huge implications for treating head injuries, brain cancer, strokes and other brain diseases. It also allows chemotherapy agents access to the brain, however DMSO usage is not widespread.
Protects against Radiation Damage and Promotes DNA Repair
Applying DMSO to the body or taking it internally before any exposure to radiation (X-rays or air travel or even people who work with radioactive material), to prevent DNA damage and the damaging effects of free radicals. DMSO helps prevent DNA damage by increasing levels of Glutathione, which ensures that the ROS created from the radiation cannot damage the cell. It can also prevent ulcers forming caused by radiation therapy used in convention cancer therapy and can also assist after radiation exposure.
The sooner one applies DMSO the better. For minor exposure eg a head CT scan or mammogram add six teaspoons of 99.995% DMSO to six teaspoons of distilled or very well filtered water or juice and drink for seven days.
For higher radiation exposure, use the following protocol:
Cover the body with 80% DMSO as soon as possible and then dilute six teaspoons of DMSO in six teaspoons of water or juice as above but drink twice daily.
In studies, DMSO has been shown to restrict the growth of bacteria, fungus and parasites. It can also be added to bacteria resistant antibiotics to increase sensitivity, so the drug is effective once again.
DMSO creates heat when it comes into contact with other substances particularly water. This heat increases vasodilation which is important as it can increase blood flow and lower blood pressure. Because of this it can be used as a stroke preventative as well as first aid in an emergency. In the presence of DMSO, the body burns more glucose to make more energy and encourages more oxygen in the bloodstream.
DMSO is an excellent wound healer. It repairs tissue and allows blood to move in and accelerates tissue repair. It can be used whenever there is a tissue injury, caused by lack of blood flow caused by poor nutrition, poisoning, inflammation or an accidental physical injury. It has found success in treating scleroderma, allergic eczema, contact dermatitis and rheumatoid arthritis, plus all types of pain syndromes. All of which are caused by tissue damage caused by long standing inflammation. Use on open wounds may cause short term stinging/ discomfort.
DMSO can cause temporary warmth, redness, itching, burning, swelling and peeling. To reduce these effects, reduce the concentration of DMSO according to the type of skin that you will apply to. Later, there are suggested dilutions, however, always adjust according to your own skin type and body and reactions. It must not be applied to a tattoo site as it can take the dye deeper into the body. As the dye is usually toxic, this is not desirable.
Pairing DMSO with Aloe Vera works very well as it naturally cools the warmth that DMSO creates. Between 40 and 80% DMSO is best for topical applications. The lower end should be for more sensitive skin ie the face and on animals. The higher end is suitable for thicker tougher skin like on the soles of your feet.
Any redness caused generally dissipates within 20 minutes and dilutions higher than 80% can cause thickening of the skin over time. Using full strength DMSO on the skin does have its place sometimes in the treatment of small pimples wounds and scar tissue.
One may also experience different levels of sensitivity according to hormone levels, so at certain times of the menstrual cycle women may experience different sensitivity, due to oestrogen levels.
With any new substance it’s advisable to conduct a patch test, usually on the inside of the wrist, so that you can gauge the concentration required and any redness, itching or reaction experienced. Any reaction will dissipate within twenty minutes.
Make sure that any patch of skin where you will be using DMSO is scrupulously clean; showering beforehand is ideal and make sure that any sweat is washed off before applying; sweat contains toxins and you do not want them to be absorbed back into the skin. Ideally, wash with a pure Castile or coconut oil soap. Whatever DMSO makes contact with will be taken into the skin. You can apply DMSO with your hands. If applying on someone else, make sure your hands are clean before applying and wash afterwards. You can also use a natural bristle paintbrush (not synthetic as DMSO will dissolve synthetic materials) or organic cotton wool.
When starting to use DMSO, it’s advisable to begin slowly. After the patch test, use the concentration suitable for your specific health condition. Your individual level of health or disease will determine your individual reaction to DMSO and the concentration.
If you have been consuming chemicals in the form of processed foods, GMOs, non organic foods, alcohol, soda or fizzy pop, caffeine, refined sugar, food dyes and other additives, tobacco, or cannabis, the rate that these toxins leave the body will increase.
Using high doses of DMSO in these instances may overload the liver and cause issues in other parts of the elimination system (kidneys, bowel, lymph, skin, lungs). It’s advisable to eliminate the above for several weeks before embarking on DMSO usage and combine with juicing, cleanses, enemas etc, exercising, sleeping well etc. Work with a naturopathic practitioner to ensure that all elimination systems are open and functioning or start using DMSO in small quantities so as not to overload the system with toxins. If this happens then a Herxheimer response or healing crisis may occur. These symptoms may include fatigue, bowel changes, nausea, headache, skin rashes and mood changes. In highly toxic bodies, a healing crisis may not be avoided completely, just minimised. Drinking plenty of pure or distilled water, resting and fasting and enemas will help to minimise symptoms.
The body uses the Sulphur in DMSO to create glutathione in the liver, which protects against free radicals, chronic inflammation, supports heart health, removes heavy metals and other toxins.
Pure DMSO has almost no odour but when it’s blended with other substances, the sulphur can be detected by our sense of smell. When DMSO becomes DMS (Dimethyl Sulfide) through the breakdown process, it gives off the Sulphur based odour akin to garlic, onions, oysters, clams, sweetcorn, or the beach at low tide. The more you are detoxifying the more you are likely to smell and you may not smell it yourself. The odour depends very much upon the individual.
Stopping usage will stop the smell, however, to mitigate the smell implement the following:
-use DMSO only on the skin and MSM internally
-treat yourself in the evening
-if you are finding smelly breath is a problem, a mouthwash of wintergreen essential oil (1 drop to one ounce of water) and use as a mouthwash but do not swallow. Or try 5 drops of 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide to one ounce of water as a mouthwash taken a few times per day. Again, do not swallow.
The flavour of DMSO has been described as anything from rubber bands to oysters. Add to juice if you find it unpleasant. Tantamount to DMSO’s systemic nature, once applied to skin you can taste it in your mouth a few seconds later. It has access to nearly every organ within an hour.
It takes 24-48 hours to remove DMSO from the body once stopped using , if you’d like to have a time out. It’s advisable if using for the long term, to allow metabolites and build up to be removed periodically; take one day’s break per month. After six months’ use take one week off. At the beginning it’s advisable to take DMSO for 5 days per week only.
Dosage of any natural or pharmaceutical medicine is important. Too little can mean no noticeable difference, too much can cause healing symptoms (or more dangerous consequences with pharma drugs) or even just wasting money on too large a dose. More is not always better. See dosage later in this blog.
Use During Pregnancy
There is limited data available for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding, so as avoiding drugs like caffeine and alcohol is prudent, it’s best to avoid DMSO use during pregnancy. It’s o to use DMSO if using birth control and not trying to get pregnant.
Using DMSO with children is safe but in a limited capacity. Low doses should be between 20-40% for topical use or 80% for cavity control. Be sure to consult with a health professional if you want to make any changes to your child’s health regime.
Mixing with Pharmaceutical Drugs
For the most part taking a holistic approach and using pharmaceutical drugs work at odds with each other. A holistic approach works with the body, aiding it with nutrition, detoxing it and supporting its systems and organs. A conventional approach works against the body, working to stop its processes, to mask its symptoms and cover up problems. Mixing pharmaceutical drugs with natural remedies can pose many problems as they are working against each other.
DMSO allows everything you are eating, drinking or putting on your body, greater access inside the body. We don’t know enough about this substance so erring on the sid of caution is advised, especially when blending with a pharmaceutical drug. On the other hand, blending with natural medicine seems to heighten the effects of vitamins, minerals and herbs, botanicals and homeopathics. Because pharmaceutical drugs deplete kidneys, liver and nutrients, it’s advisable to proceed only with the utmost caution and by consulting a doctor or health professional.
DMSO and Alcohol
It’s advisable to not consume alcohol when using DMSO. Not only is alcohol a known class one carcinogen, and is toxic to the liver, and so is in opposition to improving one’s health, DMSO can also exacerbate the effects of alcohol, which could have toxic or dangerous consequences. In some experiments and with certain timing, DMSO could be protective from alcohol, but because this must be managed specifically, it’s best to avoid using the two substances together at all.
Reactivity with Materials
DMSO will react with soft materials like aluminium, copper iron or tin, but not stainless steel. Make sure not to wear jewellery unless you are sure they are gold or silver when using DMSO. Even so, some clasps are made of nickel, so allow 30 minutes before putting jewellery back on. Other toxic metals like lead, cadmium, mercury etc should never be mixed with DMSO and be careful if touching any rusty items as it can open up the skin to absorbing rust. Be aware of this when building, painting, or gardening and apply DMSO away from these work times.
It is reactive with some types of plastic, so avoid using plastic containers. If you have silicone implants, do not use high concentrations of DMSO, use only low dose concentrations as far away from the implant site as possible. DMSO will also dissolve the effect that Botox has and will heal the area, therefore if you use Botox, do not use DMSO.
DMSO is light sensitive so it’s important to store in a dark container or at least out of direct sunlight. A dark cool cupboard away from other substances is ideally between 59 and 86 F (15 degrees C-30 degrees C). DMSO will freeze at 65.4F (18.5C), so on a cold day you may find that the 99.995% pure DMSO has turned into crystals. Freezing will not alter or damage it. It’s suggested to keep at the top of the fridge with a tea cosy cover to protect from light.
-There can be some pain when applied to deep wounds but it soon resolves.
-Do not store close to any toxic substances as the DMSO could absorb that material
-Make sure you are using clean and natural make up, lotions, products etc
-Take these precautions and adjust upon your own reaction, allowing time between application between non-natural make up, other substances etc.
-DMSO is absorbed within 10 minutes but its effect on the skin can last anywhere between 1 and 3 hours, which means that your skin barrier is open to absorption, so if you spill anything toxic on yourself, wash it off immediately.
-Avoid using before swimming in a chlorinated pool. Take a good shower and wait at least an hour before applying DMSO.
Reactions to DMSO
It’s important to stop use if you experience any adverse reactions. These include trouble breathing or shortness of breath, itching, facial swelling, rash, hives. Your body may need to detoxify more before using DMSO. Consult with your holistic health practitioner if required to understand ways that you can detoxify your body.
If a natural antihistamine is required to resolve a detox reaction from DMSO or from anything else, the following can be used:
Mix 2 tbsp sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and 1 tbsp potassium bicarbonate (can also use cream of tartar if not available) and store in a jar. To use dissolve 1/2 teaspoon completely in warm water and drink. Symptoms should dissipate fairly rapidly but a second dose can be taken 20-30 mins later if needed.
There are many protocols available for the treatment of conditions, you can make up different concentrations in advance and store in bottles and jars. Make sure you note on the jar or bottle, the concentration and date made.
-DMSO can be used externally and internally.
-If you want to avoid oyster breath take 1/2 to 1 tsp of MSM every 12 hours orally and use DMSO topically.
-Make sure skin is clean and toxin free before applying- and wait 20 mins before dressing and wipe off residue before doing so
-Do not wear synthetic fragrances with DMSO
-Do not use alcohol or smoke while using DMSO
-Apply DMSO with hands, cotton wool or natural bristle brush. Do not wear nail polish if applying with hands. Do not wear latex or plastic gloves.
-Always start with a patch test
-If you have any redness or burning sensation, use preservative free aloe vera.
-If using for pain, use in the area but also widely around the area
If used at this pure concentration redness, hives and itchiness will be experienced. If used repeatedly on same area, the area will thicken, look leathery and eventually peel. Once DMSO is halted, skin will return to normal, often in a better condition than before. Only use in emergency situations with the help of a natural health practitioner.
This is the strength often sold in health food stores, either diluted with aloe vera or with distilled water. This percentage may be too strong for certain skin types. Repeated use at this strength can also lead to a thickened leathery texture. Do not use on delicate skin, like on the face- it’s recommended to use 40-80%.
Good for skin applications blended with distilled water or preservative free aloe vera juice gel. Also use at this percentage If mixing with other nutrients like vitamins, minerals or botanical extracts. An ideal percentage for topical treatment of muscle injuries.
Good for those who find 80% too strong for topical use. If added to distilled water it’s a great percentage to use for pain and to help the DMSO penetrate deeper as it uses water as a propeller to move deeper into tissues. This percentage or lower is best to use topically for tendons, ligaments, nerves, bone or any region with less water content.
Topical percentage for more delicate skin or those very sensitive to DMSO. Use similarly to 70-80% dilutions.
This is the maximum strength that should be used for the scalp, eyes and ears, ingested and in a nebulizer. Start with a weaker solution first for these areas to tests sensitivity or to slowly work up to 50%/ Maximum dose for oral use. Can be used on wounds and to assist hair to regrow or thicken.
This dilution is safe for eyes (prepared in saline solution) and ears. I recommend this as a percentage for use on the face and other delicate skin.
Can be used for face, eyes, ears and ingestion. 30% DMSO in saline is a very good anti- inflammatory eye drop solution.
This is the beginner level for eye drops and ear drops. This percentage is also safe for animals and children and a great place to start to patch test for a sensitivity response.
Use at this concentration if you wish to enhance the absorption of liquid formulae. At this low strength, DMSO is not used therapeutically. At this concentration or less, it is used to mix with chlorine dioxide solution.
Aches and Pains
-DMSO is a great pain reliever, for all types of pain and can be partnered with CBD oil or Arnica.
-DMSO can encourage a breakout of shingles or cold sores because it helps the body remove toxins
-Burns- when applied to the skin, DMSO has been shown to reduce pain, decrease swelling and promote healing in both wounds and burns. It also has local anaesthetic effects. DMSO encourages healing by enabling oxygen to the site and also inhibiting bacteria and fungi thus reducing chances of infection.
-For sunburn, use with 50/50 colloidal silver or aloe vera or a combination as soon as possible.
Headaches and Migraines
Rub a 50% solution in water or Aloe Vera at the first signs of a headache or migraine on the temples, over the forehead and on the back of the neck, on the throat and over the liver area (under your right ribcage and across your abdomen). Apply a teaspoon every hour for a maximum of three hours. Continue applying three times per day as needed. Also drink 1 teaspoon in 4-5 ounces of water or juice. Stay well hydrated.
Apply 70% DMSO in water or Aloe on and around the pain area two or three times per day. Also take 1/2 tsp of pure MSM crystals twice per day or 2000 mg orally in capsule form twice per day. Also take 5000 iu of Vitamin D per day with 4-600 iu of VItamin K2. Also apply 10-15 sprays of Magnesium over the affected area after applying DMSO.
It can also help conditions such as
-Carpal tunnel syndrome
-Restleg Leg Syndrome
-First aid and wounds
DMSO has been used in sports medicine for years to assist healing in a variety of strains, sprains, bruises, fractures, whiplash and other sporting injuries. It’s also been used to treat injured horses and helping horses to recover for many years.
It rapidly reduces inflammation and pain. It speeds up the repair process, especially so when applied soon after injury takes place. Use a 70-80% solution 2-4 times per day for rapid healing.
See “Healing with DMSO’ for full details of concentrations for the above
Animals with DMSO
When using on animals, it’s important to take the age and size of the animal into account. Use between one eighth and 1/4 of the human dose and 2ml of pure DMSO per every pound of bodyweight in enough water to dilute between 20-50%. Add to food or syringe into mouth. Topically, apply 2ml DMSO in 2ml distilled water and apply to areas where there is less fur (ears, nose, belly, paws) or rub into fur.
For wounds, clean with water, then apply colloidal silver, then apply a 50% DMSO solution plus homeopathic arnica Montana - dilute 3 pellets in a little water and give 3-6 times per day.
Can also be used as eye drops (see human recipe for eye drops) and as a chronic disease approach (7-10 pure DMSO in at least the same amount of distilled water or aloe Vera in the mouth with a syringe once or twice per day. This is for a medium weight cat or dog and housed be scaled up or down accordingly. Apply DMSO topically, change and diet and work on the organs or systems that need it holistically. Work with a natural vet.
There are thousands of studies completed on DMSO plus clinical evidence of safety and efficacy. It’s amazing that this substance is not more widely used or shared. DMSO is FDA approved for use in interstitial cystitis. As drug delivery agents in Onyx, Tegress and Viadur and in cryopreservation. Dolicur and Idoxuridine are approved topical DMSO products outside of the US.
Once you understand how DMSO works and the simple dos and don’ts and the natural substances it can be successfully paired with, you can experiment for many conditions. It can be successfully paired with some essential oils, CBD, castor oil, colloidal silver, Vitamin c, MSM. Enjoy using this wonderful healing product.
Other Sources of Information
“Healing with DMSO” Amandha D Vollmer